LUANDA — Angolans voted on Friday in a one-sided election expected to prolong President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ nearly 33 years in power, but many citizens said they wanted to see a more equal share-out of wealth in Africa’s No. 2 oil producer.
Report by Reuters
Calls for better services, such as power, water, health and education, and demands for greater social equity, were an insistent theme as voters casted their ballots in the seaside capital Luanda and across the southern African nation.
It is only the third national election since Angola won independence from Portugal in 1975, and the second since the end a decade ago of a 27-year civil war whose scars can still be seen in damaged buildings and amputee land mine victims.
“To destroy is easy, but to construct is more difficult,” said Graca, a Luanda grandmother, who gave only her first name as she went to vote, carrying her baby granddaughter in one arm and her voter’s card in the other hand.
“I hope that there can be peace and that we learn to divide what we have, the riches we have,” she added.
Dos Santos’ ruling MPLA is expected to win comfortably at the expense of smaller and weaker opposition parties, giving the silver-haired president a further five years in office on top of the 33 years he has already been in power.
But he faces a groundswell of discontent among ordinary Angolans unhappy about the unequal distribution of their country’s oil wealth, and this may be reflected in the size of the MPLA victory or the voter turnout.
National elections commission chief Andre da Silva Neto said initial results were likely to be announced yesterday.